Very good replies from everyone,
Mark: What you said makes complete sense. I never looked at it like that. I definitely won't be acquiring another sub(so I don't need a .2) for awhile, and I won't be acquiring extra surrounds for awhile either. When I have my own home, I'll begin to research for a good a projector and screen, lighting and the like. That will be when I start running a 7.2 system.
That is at least 5 years away and like you say, that will be the time to buy what's hot and new on the market.
So on that note, all I really need for a receiver is:
2) hdmi, which is a given
3) Audyssey or MCACC
4) pre outs
5) support for all the good formats/codecs
6) a bonus would be support for .flac files
Looking around this morning online, it seems tough to find something cheap with pre outs. The Onkyo NR717 seems to be my best bet so far. If anyone can give me a few more links with all the above features, it would be very helpful
cb919: I would have never thought about a vertical center unless you brought it. I would love to experiment with that and hear the difference in the front soundstage. On your comment about the QS8's; I'm very excited. Besides an old bose system I owned, I've never owned dedicated surrounds. Everything I've ever used for surrounds wasn't designed to be a surround and is at least 15 years old. I'm sure the technology for surrounds has taken quite a leap in that time.
My father has went ape shit with a brand new Cerwin Vega system. He has the 2 xls215's for mains but what I found overkill is he bought 2 cmx210's for rears. He also bought 2 XLS 12S subwoofers. He's got one of their biggest center channels, don't remember the model. Bought the Pioneer SC-67 receiver.
Is having a tower speaker beneficial in anyway for a rear surround speaker.
He's got all this jammed into a tiny square living room. lol he's broken my mom's china, detatched siding on the outside of the home, and even popped the big windows out of their seals. lol it's ridiculous, but awesome.
Cat: I would love to hear your comparisons in a few weeks
See, I like the idea to be able to "tweak". I enjoy messing around with stuff like that. On that note, someone else mentioned that with MCACC you can't adjust sub levels and that, that adjustment is most important in some cases. What's your take on this? Right now, I'm leaning towards MCACC because I don't like the "take it or leave it" concept of Audyssey.
fred: Thanks for your take on the subs. The PB13-ultra seems like such a heavy hitter, built like a tank. I like that
But the EP800 seems great too, made in canada(supporting canadian jobs is important to me), will match the rest of the system and when I hear people like yourself say "on performance, it wins hands down"...I know I will be VERY happy with it. Thank you
one a side note, Sonicboomaudio said with all taxes and shipping, to my door it would be $2266 for the pb13-ultra